SAARC Nations Should Solve Their Problems Together, Says Professor Gohwer Rizvi


New Delhi: Many of the major challenges facing the South Asian countries are trans-national and need to be solved together as most of them cannot be solved by national governments of the region in isolation, said Professor Gowher Rizvi. He said the complementarity of the nations of this region needs to be acknowledged and the region can become the largest market in the world.

Professor Gowher Rizvi, international affairs advisor to the prime minister of Bangladesh, was speaking at the 31st SAARC Charter Day celebration at the South Asian University. The day commemorates the signing of the charter of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation by seven heads of state in Kathmandu in 1985. After the idea of establishing a SAARC University was mooted by the then Prime Minister of India in the Dhaka Summit of SAARC in 2005, Prof. Gowher Rizvi, was entrusted with the task of preparing the Concept Paper for SAU. The South Asian University became operational in the year 2010 with its first batch of students.


SAU should be the breeding ground for future leaders of the region where they live, think and learn together. The university should become a world-class educational institution in the near future and it should expedite the South Asian Consciousness, he added.


Commenting about SAARC, he said the achievements of the regional body cannot be undermined and its failure, if at all, should not be its own making as it is what the member nations allow it to be. He further commented that the member nations should explore and take advantage of the enormous commonality that the countries share and the geographical proximity they enjoy with each other.


The event was chaired by Dr. Kavita A. Sharma, the President of SAU. She said the celebration of events like the SAARC Day, which is an annual affair at the university, is one of the ways to underline the importance of co-operation. She said the South Asian region could achieve much more with increased co-operation in various fields.


A panel discussion on the topic “Enhancing Economic Cooperation and Peace in SAARC” was also held. The discussion saw the participation of noted academicians from the South Asian region that include Dr. Shankar Prasad Sharma, former Vice Chairman of Nepal’s Planning Commission and former ambassador to the USA, Dasho Karma Ura, President of Centre for Bhutan Studies and GNH Research, Bhutan and senior academic from Sri Lanka, Professor Sumanasiri Liyanage. The discussion was chaired by Professor Santosh Panda, Dean, Faculty of Economics at South Asian University. The panel explored and discussed the areas of economic co-operation and the factors affecting them.


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